Friday, December 10, 2010


The first band that ever really mattered to me was the Beatles. Like a lot of people, The Leopard became enamored, even obsessed with them at a very young age. But when I first began listening to them, I only saw them as a unit, not individual personalities.

As I got older, I began to be able to differentiate which songs were Paul’s, Johns, or George’s. Around 15 and 16, I tended to like Paul’s melodic simplicity. I was a fan of his band Wings. Other than the hits, I pretty much ignored John Lennon’s career. To me, his sound was too harsh and off-putting. I didn’t understand his anger or political leanings.  

Somehow a little later I came across the album “John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band” and my view of Lennon not only changed, but my conception of how I looked at all art. I began to see how Lennon viewed his work –not as an entertainment, but an expression. The songs weren’t necessarily as pretty sounding or slickly produced as The Beatles records, but were more honest, personal, raw, and fearless. – he was putting himself out there.  And I admired him.

I loved the songs, too- Working Class Hero especially struck me:

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool,
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules,

Listening to these songs, I felt like I could relate. I loved “Isolation” and “Mother” for the same reasons.

This week marked the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death. Let’s remember him as he was—an influential artist of the highest order.

Click on title to hear "Isolation".